Top positive review
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A must for any fans of hardcore or punk and an excellent rock album in its own right!
on 26 September 2016
If you look at at any 'Top 10/20/50 Hardcore/Punk' albums of all time chart, being online, in a magazine, YouTube video or whatever, you are highly likely to find this, perhaps the most famous Dead Kennedys' album, somewhere on the list, and more often than not the top half. I know very little of this band really so I'll spare you a history lesson, what I do know, is that this is a kick ass album!
Punk is often very unfairly derided as Metal's dumb, nontechnical cousin, filled by poor guitarists, average vocalists but an occasional top drawer drummer. It's albums like 'Fresh Fruit...' that smash the stereotype to bits!
Being a guitarist, I was surprised how complex songs like 'Holiday In Cambodia' are. It's not your standard 'power chords only' punk song, and is more reminiscent of 'Surfer Rock' with a mean streak than anything else. OK, it's not exactly a 10 minute+ Steve Vai fretboard marathon, but it showcases a great understanding of melody, keys and shows there is much more to the genre than chugging power chords and ska beats. East Bay Ray may just be one of the most under-rated guitarists of all time.
The latter track is one of the highlights ('...Cambodia'), and the track listing is done very effectively, so that the album builds up to that track as its undoubted highlight, which is then followed by an excellent and fun cover of Elvis Presley's 'Viva Las Vegas.' Other highlights include 'Kill The Poor,' 'Let's Lynch The Landlord,' and 'California Uber Alles.'
Jello Biafra's vocals are also very unique, no doubt it'll have some detractors, but the the almost gleeful way he delivers the raw, harsh violence of his lyrics is something to behold, as it melodically suits the music whilst also verbally contradicting the feel good vibes.
The production has aged magnificently well. I assume this CD has been remastered(?), if not, it's a remarkable achievement of mixing! All elements are well represented and still very raw and punk, whether it's East Bay Ray's echo-fuelled slides and arpeggios to Biafra's OTT vocals, you can't help but feel amazed this album is nearly 40 years old!